Businesses aim to keep people employed after sequestration - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Businesses aim to keep people employed after sequestration

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Haul Couture and the non-profit business Phoenix Industries have plans to make beautiful bags and bring jobs to the Valley. Haul Couture and the non-profit business Phoenix Industries have plans to make beautiful bags and bring jobs to the Valley.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Local manufacturing company, Phoenix Industries, has lost some employees due to the automatic budget cuts caused by sequestration. Now, they have teamed up with another Tennessee Valley business, and together they hope to keep people employed through fashion.

"We're tickled about the possibility of helping them during this time of sequestration," said Haul Couture founder and designer, Kim Whitaker. "I think it's going to be a really good partnership for us both."

Haul Couture and the non-profit business Phoenix Industries have plans to make beautiful bags and bring jobs to the Valley. The sewing machines are busy making the multipurpose totes that are in high demand. Whitaker said she's looking forward to having a positive impact on the community.

"Just the positivity of giving work to people who need work and it's a positive work area, we're very excited about that," she said.

Automatic budget cuts have already had an impact on Phoenix. The company employs veterans and those with disabilities.

"Sequestration has resulted in the loss or layoffs of about 75 employees," said VP of manufacturing, Wes Tyler. "There will be additional layoffs in the next month to six weeks, but right now 75 is where we stand today."

The manufacturing side of Phoenix hasn't seen cuts yet, and workers hope to keep it that way. While the country is taking away jobs, this new partnership hopes to bring more as the demand for bags continues.

"This will give us the ability to create their own product line and we envision up to 12-15 workers working directly on Haul Couture," Tyler said. "So our plans would be when some of our commercial and government contracts end that we will add those people to the Haul Couture line."

Whitaker hopes to add several new bags to the HC line. They currently have three. They want to add two more by July.

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